Ryan King pressures #97 Bobby Giffin for the lead late in the O'Reilly Steelhead Late Model
Championship at 411 Motor Speedway. Giffin finished first, but waved off a tech inspection and handed the win
to 19-year-old King. (Michael Moats)
King takes Biggest Win of Young Career at 411 Steelhead
SEYMOUR, Tenn. - Oct. 23. The
fourth annual O'Reilly Steelhead Championship at 411 Motor Speedway
provided plenty of drama and excitement as 41 late models were on hand for the $2,500 winner's check. When
the dust settled, 19-year-old Ryan King had picked up his biggest career win.
In qualifying action, Bobby Giffin of Maryville, Tennessee
showed he was the man to beat by turning in a new track record with a lap of 13.90 seconds. That beat out
David Crabtree, also of Maryville.
Greg Martin passes #1 Brad Lowe inside the top five early
in the race, but at the end, Martin was out of the hunt and Lowe held down fourth place. (Michael Nuchols)
After the heat race and B-main action was completed, the 20-car
field was set to take the green. Crabtree used the outside line to grab the early lead from Giffin. King,
Rusty Ballenger, and Greg Martin were locked in a tight battle for third position. King separated himself
from the group and began to pressure Giffin for second.
The race's first caution came on lap nine for Pierce
McCarter's spin in turn four. When the field returned to green, Crabtree once again pulled away from Giffin.
King pulled alongside Giffin for second, but Giffin used the high line to retain the position. Crabtree and
Giffin began to pull away from the rest of the field. Giffin reeled in Crabtree and began to look underneath
for the lead.
Josh Collins slips under Mark Vineyard for fourth place at
411. (Michael Moats)
A little deeper in the field, Mark Leach, Mark Vineyard, and
Jason Cardwell exchanged some sheet metal as the trio looked to make their way to the front. On lap 21,
Cardwell slowed to bring out the second caution.
On the restart, Crabtree and Giffin battled for the lead coming off turn two. Crabtree held
the top spot until he slowed four laps later coming off turn four. Crabtree began to pull inside and made
contact with Giffin, who was looking underneath for the top spot.
|Bobby Giffin set fast time with a new track record, then
went on to lead the main event, only to forfeit the winner's take in the face of a
post-race inspection. (Michael
With half the race in the books, Giffin was the new leader. On
the restart, Giffin surged ahead of King by four car lengths. But King quickly closed back in on the rear
bumper of Giffin. King pressured Giffin for the lead, but Giffin held his line and kept the
After a series of cautions, it was Giffin, King, Ballenger, Brad
Lowe, and Mark Vineyard in the top five. Vineyard would soon drop out and moved reigning track champion Josh
Collins into the top five with eight laps remaining when the race's final caution
Giffin and King resumed their battle for the lead when the race
returned to green. King remained under Giffin and looked to finally be in position to make a pass. But King
made slight contact with Giffin in turn four and nearly lost control. But King gathered in back in and
held on to second position. From there, Giffin comfortably crossed the finish line for an apparent win.
Collins got by Lowe and Ballenger on the last two laps to finish in third.
Reuben Mayfield spins and collects another car during heat
race action for the Steelhead Championships. (Michael Nuchols)
Following the race, King protested Giffin. After a few minutes
to think about it, Giffin decided not to have his engine torn down. That handed the win to King. Collins was
credited for second, followed by Ballenger, Lowe, and Clyde Stanton.
NOTES: Scott Sexton was first car out for quailfing but almost
turned the car over entering turn one for the first time, then landed on top of the wall. The local
veteran walked away under his own power, but may have suffered two broken right side ribs. James
Kelso was incolced in a hard, firey wreck in heat one after making conatact with Scott Gardner, but
walked away okay.
James Kelso was unhurt, but his car was destroyed in the
first heat race after getting together with Scott Gardner. (Michael Moats)
Scott Sexton takes a wild ride onto the wall during his
qualifying lap at 411 Motor Speedway. (Michael Nuchols)
Sexton is helped from his race car
after his qualifying lap went awry. The East Tennessee veteran was thought to have suffered broken
O'Reilly Steelhead Championship Results:
1.(3) #30-Ryan King
2.(7) #16-Josh Collins
3.(4) #29-Rusty Ballenger4.(6)
5.(14) #74-Clyde Stanton
6.(18) #12-Barrett Terry
7.(20) #7-Heath Alvey
8.(19) #51-Mack McCarter
9.(17) #32-Greg Huskey
10.(12) #4-Mark Vineyard
11.(10) #71-Pierce McCarter
12.(5) #24-Greg Martin
13.(16) #129-Jason Welshan
14.(15) #21-Eric Tipton
15.(11) #2X-Anthony White
16.(2) #C5-David Crabtree
17.(9) #07-Jason Cardwell
18.(8) #66-Mark Leach
19.(13) #90J-Jason Trammel
DQ'd-#97-Bobby Giffin refused teardown